U's draw in fitting Turner Tribute Match
Cambridge United draw 0-0 with Peterborough United at the ABAX Stadium in a contest that was befitting the occasion, as the sides joined forces to celebrate the life of former player and manager Chris Turner.
On balance the U’s could perhaps have felt unlucky not to have taken the spoils on a sunny afternoon at London Road, having moved the ball fantastically well when in possession and remaining organised in defence much like the preceding pre-season fixtures beforehand.
Manager Richard Money opted for the 3-5-2 formation that had toppled Posh’s fellow League One competitors Coventry City earlier in the week at the Abbey Stadium, with Liam Hughes and Harrison Dunk introduced into the starting line-up in place of Elliot Omozusi and Barry Corr who were both given rests ahead of the new season.
Ahead of the game a warm minute’s applause was observed by both sides in memory of the late Chris Turner, who having played and managed both clubs during an illustrious career sadly passed away following a long battle with illness in April.
The home side began the game and immediately the U’s kicked into life beginning the brighter of the two, as Slew, Simpson and Newton caused the Posh early difficulties.
A clash of heads between Peterborough’s Kgosi Ntlhe and Luke Berry gave both sets of fans an early scare, with the pair returning to their feet but the U’s midfielder forced to head down the tunnel for further treatment ruling out him out for the remaining 81 minutes of the clash.
The setback did not deter Richard Money’s side however, who continued to press their League One opponents playing quick passing football with the ball and staying rigid and organised in defence without it during the opening 15 minutes of the game.
The first real opportunity fell the way of the U’s as Conor Newton pounced on a loose ball before whipping in a teasing cross which Robbie Simpson met well to force a fine save from Peterborough keeper Ben Alnwick on 17 minutes.
The home side then crafted out a chance of their own, with Conor Washington playing a key role in the move, before captain Bostwick drove a fierce shot on target with U’s keeper Sam Beasant more than a match for the effort.
Cambridge continued to press through the midpoint of the first period and when Liam Hughes’ long throw had Alnwick flailing widely, both Slew and Legge came within inches of giving the U’s a lead, but the Posh did just enough to avert the impeding danger.
With ten minutes to the half time whistle, Washington darted between Roberts and Beasant to nick the ball away from the United pair, and had it not been for the outstanding defensive work of Legge would have broken the deadlock. As it was the former Gillingham man tracked back brilliantly to clear the ball off the goal line.
Despite one further long range effort for the home side, when Jon Taylor’s strike drifted wide of Beasant’s left post, the U’s frustrated Peterborough and the scores remained goal less going into the break.
When the sides re-emerged for the second period, Manager Richard Money had elected to give George Taft his first appearance in place of Josh Coulson, having signed a six month loan deal from Burton Albion 24 hours earlier.
The left-sided central defender had an immediate presence in the game, when the ball fell to his feet on 47 minutes from a corner, but he was unable to find the target.
Worryingly for the U’s Robbie Simpson spent a considerable amount of time being treated on the pitch before being stretchered off, having gone down with a leg injury early in the second half.
Liam Hughes produced a testing shot on Alnwick from a free kick when the game restarted, with the Posh keeper just about grasping the ball before the U’s could pounce. The home side then broke up the pitch, with Gormley cutting inside and unleashing powerful strike which Beasant this time saved.
As the game crossed the hour mark, Cambridge continued to play with purpose and threaten their opponents. Taft created a wonderful opportunity for Hughes, when his venomous cross bounced off the central midfielder but wide of the mark on 66 minutes.
The introduction of youngsters Ryan Horne, Dylan Williams and Jake Chambers-Shaw by Richard Money injected further life into the U’s attack. All three were heavily involved in a counter attack on the back of a rare foray forward from the home side, which ended with Jordan Slew shooting low and hard at Alnwick that the keeper parried away.
With seven minutes of regular time to play the home side suddenly burst into life seeking a late winner meaning that the U’s were forced to remain dogged in defence to maintain a goal less score line. The men in Black and Amber did just that, seeing out the 90 minutes completing a fine performance that propels them into the start of the 2015/16 season against Newport County on 8th August.
United XI: Beasant (Flatt, 76 mins), Legge, Roberts, Coulson (Taft, 45 mins), Newton, Dunk (Chambers-Shaw, 72 mins), Hughes, Keane (Dylan Williams, 64 mins), Berry (Morrissey, 9 mins) [Morrissey replaced by Horne, 64 mins], Slew (Burns, 86 mins), Simpson (Lowe, 48 mins)
Peterborough XI: Alnwick, Smith (Adebayo- Rowling, 35 mins), Ntlhe, Zakuani, Taylor (H.Anderson, 78 mins), Bostwick, Maddison, Santos, Washington, Gormley (Angol, 78 mins), Collison (Anderson, 74 mins)